St Cross and the Sorolla Day Celebrations

St Cross and Sorolla

Carole addressing guests at the Symposium

Carole addressing guests at the Symposium


St Cross College hosted an Art and Music Soirée as part of the Sorolla Day celebrations on 1 July 2019.

The Sorolla Day began with a symposium, the first collaboration between the Bodleian Libraries and the National Gallery, and brought experts from across Europe to discuss the life and work of Spain’s foremost Impressionist, Joaquín Sorolla. Known as the ‘master of light’ for his iridescent canvases, Sorolla was exhibited at the National Gallery in the first UK exhibition in over a century. The Sorolla Day was organised by the Bodleian Libraries, St Cross, and Spanish Studies at Oxford, in collaboration with the National Gallery, and coordinated by St Cross alumna Dr Marina Pérez de Arcos.

The Master, Carole Souter, was invited to give the opening address along with Bodley's Librarian, Richard Ovenden, and Director of the National Gallery, Dr Gabriele Finaldi. The symposium brought together experts from the art world to discuss the life and legacy of Sorolla: including keynote speaker, Dr Javier Barón, Richard Ormond, Dr Patricia Fernández Lorenzo, Edmund Peel, Dr Rafael Mateu, Dr Miguel Lorente Boyer (Sorolla’s great-grandson), Virginia Lladó-Buisán, Mónica Rodríguez Subirana, and Akemi Herráez Vossbrink. For a full list of speakers see the Bodleian Library website:

Sorolla's work projected onto the Chapel walls

Sorolla's work projected onto the Chapel walls


After the symposium, St Cross hosted a projection of the award-winning Sorolla: Journeys of Light documentary (Bronze Medal at the New York TV and Film Festival), and a music and light show took place in Pusey Chapel, bringing together Sorolla's paintings and the work of his contemporaries in the arts, projected onto the Chapel walls. Accompanying this were privately-held recordings of Nobel Laureate in Literature Juan Ramón Jiménez reciting his own poetry, and special renditions of Joaquín Rodrigo’s scores for piano, violin and guitar. The programme was curated by Professor Raymond Calcraft, a music conductor and former Head of Spanish at the Universities of Portsmouth, Warwick and Exeter, who provided a running commentary to offer valuable insights on the works of Sorolla, Rodrigo and Jiménez.

A drinks reception followed in the Common Room and Quad, where guests were able to enjoy an art display by schoolchildren from Hackney primary and secondary schools and ALCE, all inspired by Sorolla. Guildhall School of Music and Drama graduate and BritishSpanish Society's Centenary Scholar Lucía Veintimilla provided music for the reception. 

Sorolla Art Display

Art display by school children from Hackney primary and secondary schools and ALCE, all inspired by Sorolla.




The Oxford Sorolla Day Art and Music Soirée was organised by St Cross College and Spanish Studies at Oxford, in collaboration with the Education Office at the Spanish Embassy in London; with the support of the Instituto Cervantes London, Bodegas Verum, BaxterStorey, the BritishSpanish Society, and the generosity of Dr Rafael Mateu, Sonia Tercero, and Professor Raymond Calcraft. 

You can read Marina's interview with Blanca Pons-Sorolla, Joaquín Sorolla's great-granddaughter and co-curator of the exhibition at the National Gallery, here


Ella Bedrock
11 July 2019

Photos courtesy of Gloria Ceballos Nibu Letterpress